Non-profit gives AED unit, first-aid kit to Parks and Rec


The City of Gadsden’s Parks and Recreation Department is one of several to benefit form a Birmingham physicians’ concern over the safety of those participating and attending youth sports activities.

The National Center for Sports Safety is giving 11 Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) and fully stocked emergency first aid kits to parks and recreation centers across the State of Alabama.

Among the recipients include Tuscaloosa, Brookwood, Fort Payne, Birmingham, Greenville, Gulf Shores, Gadsden, Andalusia, and Orange Beach. 

NCSS partnered with the State of Alabama, Alabama Power Foundation, and Walter Energy to provide these units at no cost to these municipalities. The goal of this program is to help decrease the number of sports fatalities resulting from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Without the support of these organizations, this initiative would not be possible. 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a condition characterized by the sudden, unexpected loss of normal heart function, consciousness and breathing. According to the American Heart Association, for every minute that passes between cardiac arrest and defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases up to 10 percent.

“The risk of injury in sports is inevitable,” said Executive Director, Kathryn Gwaltney. “Having an AED on site at these facilities is fundamental in the event an emergency situation arises. In addition, a fully stocked first aid kit will help an appropriately trained coach or volunteer assist in the event of a minor injury. If we can prevent one fatality or injury, we feel this program has been a success.” 

As a recipient of this award, NCSS encourages all coaches, volunteers, and staff to complete its sports safety course, PREPARE. The course, founded by renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Larry Lemak, and a team of medical experts, covers topics including concussions, injury prevention, heat and cold illness, and emergency recognition. 

To date, NCSS has distributed 42 AED units to parks and recreation facilities across Alabama, and educated just over 18,000 coaches with the NCSS PREPARE Course. 

Dr. Larry Lemak founded National Center for Sports Safety in 2001 to promote the importance of injury prevention and safety on all levels of youth sports through education and research. NCSS focuses on decreasing the number and intensity through developing and teaching sports-safety courses. NCSS also collects, analyzes, and researches injury data to improve safety practices.

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